Sunday, July 31, 2011

In My Mailbox #11

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

I got lots of great books this week! In addition to getting some good books from the library, I visited Booksamillion while my mom and I were in Williamsburg and stocked up on some great titles for $3.97 a piece!! I love their bargain books!

From the library:
Withering Tights by Louise Rennison (GoodReads)
The Lovely Shoes by Susan Shreve (GoodReads)
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (GoodReads) Review coming tomorrow!

Choker by Elizabeth Woods (GoodReads)
Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves (GoodReads)
The Book of Spells: A Private Prequel by Kate Brian (GoodReads)
The Education of Hailey Kendrick by Eileen Cook (GoodReads)
Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani (GoodReads)
The Six Rules of Maybe by Deb Caletti (GoodReads)
Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready (GoodReads)
The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard (GoodReads)

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Great Harry Potter Reread

I just signed up for the Great Harry Potter Reread, hosted by Sarah at Writer, Reader, Dreamer and Alissa at The Grammarian's Reviews. I am a huge Harry Potter fan and look forward to rereading the books and discussing them with other Potterfiles!

They will be reading/discussing 2 books/week for the month of August...head on over and sign up to be part of the fun!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu

Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu

Rating: 3.5/5 Hoots

Release Date: February 2, 2010

GoodReads.Com Summary:
Everyone has a secret. But Lucy's is bigger and dirtier than most. It's one she's been hiding for years—that her mom's out-of-control hoarding has turned their lives into a world of garbage and shame. Tackling an increasingly discussed topic that is both fascinating and disturbing, C. J. Omololu weaves an hour-by-hour account of Lucy's desperate attempt to save her family. Readers join Lucy on a path from which there is no return, and the impact of hoarding on one teen's life will have them completely hooked. 

My Review:
Dirty Little Secrets was a gripping, intense read! Lucy's life as the daughter of a hoarder was eye-opening- I was aware of people who lived with this disorder but hadn't thought much about how difficult it must be for their families. I felt so bad for Lucy trying to deal with not only the physical constraints of living among mounds of trash and junk but also the emotional mistreatment she receives from her mother. She is such a strong character- even though her brother and sister had left her behind to deal with the situation on her own, she tries to make the best of it. I can't imagine trying to have friends and a crush and knowing that they could never visit your home or know the "real" you. It would be exhausting having to protect a secret like that all the time.

Once Lucy's mother dies, she realizes that she will either have the chance to start a new life with the friends, romance and future she has dreamed of, or her mother's secrets will come to light and change everyone's perceptions of their family. Lucy has to make tough decisions to try to make her bright future possible- I was so nervous to see what would happen that I could not stop reading! I stayed up way too late so I could see what happened. I didn't agree with all the choices she made, but I don't know what I would have done in her situation.

I really enjoyed this book, even though it was disturbing. I liked the fast pace- the story took place over just 2 days, which contributed to the intense, nerve-racking experience! The only reason I didn't give it 5 Hoots was because I didn't feel the solution was realistic for most people- it was satisfying, but seemed really unlikely to me.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Keep Sweet by Michele Dominguez Greene

Keep Sweet by Michele Dominguez Greene

Rating: 5/5 Hoots

Release Date: 03/09/2010

GoodReads.Com Summary:
Alva Jane has never questioned her parents, never questioned her faith, never questioned her future. She is content with the strict rules that define her life in Pineridge, the walled community where she lives with her father, his seven wives, and her twenty-eight siblings. This is the only world Alva has ever known, and she has never thought to challenge it. But everything changes when Alva is caught giving her long-time crush an innocent first kiss. Beaten, scorned, and now facing a forced marriage to a violent, fifty-year old man, Alva suddenly realizes how much she has to lose--and how impossible it will be to escape.

My Review:
I loved this book! The plot was riveting and at times horrifying, and it was nearly impossible to put down- I read it in one sitting and you will want to as well! I was so fascinated by the Fundamentalist Mormon lifestyle described in the book, and it seemed like the author had really done her homework in researching these communities.

Alva Jane is a wonderful MC, you quickly become attached to her in her excitement over her pending marriage to the boy she loves and are heartbroken when that possibility is ripped away from her (I promise that was not a spoiler- you find this out right at the beginning). You are sympathetic to her gradual awakening to the injustices and cruel truths of the FLDS community where she has grown up. She is so strong and courageous as she endures abuse at the hands of her family and husband and plots her escape.

I enjoyed the fast paced writing style and the fact that the author did not "talk down" to her young adult audience- she did not hold back despite the difficult subject matter.

I think this book is relevant today, with shows like "Big Love" and "Sister Wives" exploring similar lifestyles and survivors like Carolyn Jessup who have publicized their escape stories from FLDS communities.

Also, how gorgeous is this cover? On the back their is a little portrait of Alva Jane in a high-necked blouse with her long hair braided- I loved that little detail!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society #2) by Ally Carter

Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society #2) by Ally Carter

Rating: 5/5 Hoots

Release Date: June 21, 2011

Review from
Katarina Bishop has worn a lot of labels in her short life: Friend. Niece. Daughter. Thief. But for the last two months she’s simply been known as the girl who ran the crew that robbed the greatest museum in the world. That’s why Kat isn’t surprised when she’s asked to steal the infamous Cleopatra Emerald so it can be returned to its rightful owners.
There are only three problems. First, the gem hasn’t been seen in public in thirty years. Second, since the fall of the Egyptian empire and the suicide of Cleopatra, no one who holds the emerald keeps it for long — and in Kat’s world, history almost always repeats itself. But it’s the third problem that makes Kat’s crew the most nervous, and that is . . . the emerald is cursed.
Kat might be in way over her head, but she’s not going down without a fight. After all, she has her best friend — the gorgeous Hale — and the rest of her crew with her as they chase the Cleopatra around the globe, dodging curses and realizing that the same tricks and cons her family has used for centuries are useless this time.
Which means, this time, Katarina Bishop is making up her own rules.

My Review:
I'll gush first- I LOVE these books! I had been (not so) patiently waiting for my copy to come in at the library for 3 loooong weeks, and was so happy when it finally arrived! All the great aspects of Heist Society are present in Uncommon Criminals, plus quite a few more twists and turns!

I adore Kat, the narrator. She is such a great character- so smart and skilled, but with endearing flaws that really make her seem real. She can plan incredibly complicated heists, but when it comes to figuring out guys, she is just as clueless as any regular girl! The rest of her crew are a diverse, fun bunch- Hale is a great guy, and Gabrielle is a total femme fatale- she reminds me a lot of Isabel from Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series.

The story is exciting with lots of unexpected twists. I loved the setting- Monaco, how glamorous! I love reading about the crew planning their next big job, and I love seeing how it all pans out, Ocean's 11 style! The one thing I would have liked was to have seen a little more romance between Kat and Hale- they are very sweet together! This is a book you will want to devour in one sitting!